Leek is a biennial plant native to Europe and Western Asia. It comes from the same family with onion and garlic and besides widespread usage in cooking, it is known for many medicinal properties. In cuisines around the world, leek is frequently used as an addition to various cooked, fried, gilled and baked dishes, as well as in salads. It is a common ingredient of healthy and delicious soups and stews. This vegetable is amazing natural remedy for many diseases. It prevents various health problems, supports cardiovascular system and cleans the entire body.
Leek is a close relative to garlic and onion. It has somewhat milder flavor then its relatives and also contains valuable essential oils. Those oils are good source of allicin, which is an element that improves our digestion.
Leeks also contain carbohydrates, protein, vitamin C in greater amount then garlic and onion, beta carotene and other nutrients. Raw leek is an excellent source of manganese, iron, folic acid and vitamin B6. It is also rich in essential oils that stimulate the production of digestive juices and accelerates excretion of urine.
One of the greatest health benefits from eating leeks is regulation of blood sugar level. This vegetable is abundant in vitamins C and B6, folic acid, iron and manganese, which are all very important in process of regulation of blood sugar.
Also, numerous studies have shown that regular intake of leeks, especially in raw form, raises the level of good cholesterol and in the same time simultaneously lowers the level of bad cholesterol. Leeks are also very good for resolving constipation problems and for exertion of toxic substances from the body. Leek is great immune system booster and a natural antioxidant.
Eating leeks raw?
When it comes to form of consuming leeks, the best way to use all its health benefits is to have it raw. Just as the case is with other vegetable, cooking process and other ways of preparation make vegetables lose a great deal of their valuable elements. It also happens with leeks. However, you would rarely hear that leeks are eaten raw.
There is no particularly strong reason why not to eat leeks raw. Actually, it is good for our health, just as eating raw garlic. However, leeks and its relatives have distinctive taste and smell, which makes them literally inedible for many.
Also, leeks can be pretty harder and drier than onion and garlic, and difficult to chew. Its tight leaves and layers also make them difficult to thoroughly clean it from dirt and parasites.
Some people regularly eat leeks and its leaves raw. However, if you can’t stand its taste and smell, use it in a cooked dish or in a salad. If you slightly grill it and mix with other vegetables, you can save most of its healthy properties and enjoy in a delicious meal. There are numerous of recipes which include leeks as one of the essential ingredients. Not that it just gives every dish an aromatic flavor, but it provides many health benefits for our body.